The 49ers have a promising running game, a big question mark at quarterback and a winless record away from home.
But that’s not all you need to know.
Here are five things to digest about the surging Seahawks’ next opponent.
1. The 49ers have found a reliable running back in Matt Breida.
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If you think former seventh-round pick Chris Carson is an unlikely success story for the Seahawks, get a load of Breida. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back — who went undrafted out of Georgia Southern in 2017 — has established himself not only as the 49ers’ starter but as one of the most productive running backs in the NFL, stacking up back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Most recently, he ran for 106 yards on just 14 carries and added three catches for 34 yards in his team’s loss to the Bucs last weekend.
On the season, Breida’s 5.8 yards per carry ranks second-best in the NFL for a player who registers at least 11 carries per game, behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Jones.
Luckily for Breida, he’s about to run into a Seahawks defense that allows opponents to rush for 5.3 yards per carry, ranking dead last in the NFL. Christian McCaffrey exploited that unit for 125 rushing yards and a touchdown last weekend.
2. Nick Mullens may not be the answer at quarterback.
Remember Week 9, when an upstart undrafted rookie quarterback named Nick Mullens got a surprise start and proceeded to demolish the in-state rival Oakland Raiders? When he completed 16 of 22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in a 34-3 win? When he received a phone call from fellow Southern Mississippi alum Brett Favre on national television after the game?
Those were good times.
It’s too bad they had to end.
In Mullens’ two games since (both losses), the 6-1, 210-pound quarterback has thrown two touchdown passes and four interceptions. He also fumbled in a loss to the Bucs on Sunday. San Francisco managed just 221 passing yards and 342 total yards, while going 1-for-8 on third down, against a horrific Tampa Bay defense.
Yes, Mullens is still San Francisco’s best option at quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo on the shelf with a torn ACL.
But that doesn’t make him a very good option.
3. The 49ers rank 31st in the NFL in turnover differential at -17.
This is what happens when A.) you turn the football over at will, and B.) you fail to take it away. Thus far, the 2-9 49ers have failed spectacularly in both aspects. Their eight lost fumbles and 14 interceptions are both fifth-most in the NFL.
They’ve also recovered just three fumbles and intercepted two total passes in 11 games, the latter being the worst mark in the NFL.
It’s hard to win football games when you don’t win the turnover battle. The 2018 49ers are proof of that.
4. The 49ers just released one of their most talented defensive players.
The team parted ways with linebacker Reuben Foster after he was arrested on charges of misdemeanor domestic violence on Saturday night at the team hotel. It was Foster’s third arrest since being drafted with the No. 31 overall pick in 2017.
In 17 career games, the 6-1, 228-pound linebacker produced 101 tackles, including 29 tackles in seven games this season. The Seahawks won’t be seeing him on the opposite sideline on Sunday.
5. San Francisco is 0-6 on the road this season.
That isn’t much of a surprise, considering the 49ers’ 2-9 overall record. But consider also that their last two road losses came to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, inarguably two of the worst teams in the NFL.
This rivalry has also been incredibly lopsided of late, with the Seahawks winning 10 straight games against the 49ers in general and their last seven at CenturyLink Field. That streak won’t likely be snapped on Sunday.